A decade ago, Jeremy Meeks was known as the 'hot felon'. Here's what his life looks like now.

In 2014, a mug shot went viral. 

A local American police department had shared a series of them online, in a bid to highlight the number of arrests they'd made in connection to weapons charges. And one of those mug shots belonged to Jeremy Meeks

Within 24 hours, Meeks' photo had acquired more than 15,000 likes and 3,700 comments, most of which centred on his appearance. And the fame only continued to grow with hashtags like #hotfelon #prisonbae.

Almost a decade on, Meeks has walked in some of the world's most high-profile catwalk shows, fronted fashion campaigns, starred in movies, and more. 

As Meeks said recently: "I stepped fresh out of federal prison into the limelight. And my life changed completely."

Considering the life he had before that viral photo, Meeks says it was a "miracle" that he made it to where he is today, and lived beyond the age of 30.

Watch: Inside the world's toughest prisons. Post continues below.

Video via Netflix.

Meeks said his upbringing was "very, very dark".

"Both of my parents were heroin addicts. I was a heroin baby. My dad committed a murder when I was nine months old and killed my mum's best friend, because he was looking for us and she was the only one who knew where we were at," he said on the What's Your Water podcast.


Meeks' father was jailed for the murder in 1984 and was released in 2017.

At 15 years old, Meeks moved out of home, but soon found himself caught up in crime while living on the streets. 

He was soon sent to a juvenile detention centre. Shortly after being released, he was shot five times, and beaten up by gang members. It was a cycle that would continue for some time — crime, violence, and association with gang life. 

"[Being in juvenile detention] made me adapt to the violence," he said. "I didn't have that much education, and probably read at a fifth-grade reading level when I went to prison."


In 2002, Meeks was charged with robbery and corporal injury to a child, assaulting a 16-year-old boy when he was 18. He served nine years in the infamous San Quentin State Prison — a maximum-security correctional facility, known for housing some of the worst criminals in America.

At one point, a cell neighbour of his was Charles Manson

After being released in 2014, Meeks again found himself in trouble with the law. He was arrested for felony weapon charges, relating to gun possession and resisting arrest.

Soon after this arrest, his mugshot went viral. 


Meeks was jailed again and sentenced to 27 months. While in prison, Meeks began getting some 300 letters a day, people sending him money inside books. And even while he was incarcerated, Meeks said he received 45 contracts for modelling, movie and management opportunities.

"I had never ever in my life ever seen a contract before. It was like trying to read French, very overwhelming," he said to Buzzfeed.

He was released in 2016 after serving 13 months. Overall, Meeks has served 10 and a half years in the federal prison system throughout his life.

Soon after being released, further opportunities came his way and he "hit the ground running", signing a major deal with a top modelling agency.

"I'm in a place where I will be able to provide for my family and really change my life," he said at the time to local media. "I never thought that everyone in the world would recognise me for my looks, so I feel extremely blessed and very thankful."

He has walked in Milan Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, been photographed for numerous high-profile covers and campaigns, and has since starred in five movies.


As for his family life, Meeks has two sons.

From 2008 to 2018, Meeks was married to his wife, Melissa Meeks. Together they had a son, Jeremy Jr, and Meeks also became a stepdad to his wife's first two children from a former marriage, a son and a daughter.

In 2017, Meeks was spotted kissing Topshop heiress Chloe Green, around the time that Meeks had filed for separation from his wife. In May 2018, the pair welcomed a son together, Jayden Meeks-Green. 


By 2019, Meeks and Green had split. 

He told Extra recently: "We're all co-parenting. They are incredible mothers."

As for where he spends most of his downtime now, Meeks said he chooses to reside in Monte Carlo, Monaco, due to the country's strict paparazzi laws.

Reflecting on his kids, he said to Hollywood Life: "My kids changed my life, as wild as it was, my kids slow me down and now they are my motivation and they are my fuel to what I do, why I do it. I am trying to change the generation of wealth; I am trying to change the generation of curse."


Meeks said that he still feels grateful to the judge who worked on his case, who urged the former felon to change his life. Nowadays, Meeks is promoting two new movies, as well as doing advocacy work for youth in foster care and incarcerated in juvenile detention.

He also said on the What's Your Water podcast that he would like to get into making music — ideally music that relates to kids who have grown up similarly to how he did.

"I did a lot of dirt because of the music I was listening to, it made me angry. I know how music affects kids, and I don't want ever want to promote gangs, violence or drugs. When I do music, I want to make sure it's a positive message, and street without the killing or badness."

Meeks said that he is glad he had time in prison to re-evaluate his life while his image was going viral. 

"It scared me. The whole time I was telling myself that as fast as this blessing has come, you could f**k this up. You better make wise decisions," he said, crediting his supportive team for helping him deal with his finances and learn how to live a new normal. 

"It was just crazy. I had spent my whole life on the streets and now I'm on a photoshoot. It was hard to adjust. It's been a wild, wild ride and I'm so grateful."

Feature Image: Police/Getty.

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